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Stop and stair! Luxury development builds its own subway entrance • Brooklyn Paper

Stop and stair! Luxury development builds its own subway entrance

R is for ritzy: Developer Avalon Bay Communities built this new subway entrance at the corner of Bridge and Willoughby Streets outside the AvaDoBro building.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

They really know how to make an entrance!

A Downtown developer has built a brand new subway entrance into the side of its Willoughby Street high-rise, and residents say they can’t wait to set foot on the luxury amenity.

“It looks pretty and clean,” said Nicole, who lives in the new Ava Dobro tower at Bridge Street — which also boasts a heated dog run and an espresso bar.

Developer Avalon Bay has created a spacious 10-foot-wide staircase and elevator leading to Jay Street-MetroTech — which it paid for out of its own pocket, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — where both residents and the unwashed masses will soon be able to head directly down to the R platform, or connect to the A,C, and F trains.

In the halcyon days of the subway system, major buildings often sported their own doors to the subterranean transit system — there used to be one inside Macy’s on Fulton Mall, Borough Hall once led directly into the Brooklyn Municipal Building, and you can still access Atlantic Terminal from inside the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower — but this is the first new Downtown development in recent memory with its own gateway.

Commuters have long bemoaned the gritty, narrow staircases leading to and from the R platform formerly known as Lawrence Street station. The transit authority connected it up to the Jay Street stops in 2010, but the direct exits remain pokey and shabby, even as the combined complex has grown from 38,000 daily users in 2011 to 41,000 in 2014.

Straphangers across the borough have been clamoring for the transit authority to create more subway entrances or reopen closed ones as ridership has spiked across the system, with only limited success.

But the privately-funded portal at Willoughby and Bridge streets could set a new precedent, and the transportation authority says it is already pushing the city to force developers into paying for upgrades to nearby stations when their new buildings flood them with riders.

Neither the transit authority nor the developer would say when the new entrance will be open, but an Ava Dobro employee said it should be soon.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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